We’re all like lumps of clay that over time have been shaped and molded by dozens of influential hands — and experiences and words and ideas and moments and conversations and books and dreams and successes and failures — but mostly people.
My journey as a Christian believer, thinker, writer and pastor has been powerfully and positively shaped by the following:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the cost of discipleship, radical obedience and avoiding the dangers of cheap grace.
Timothy Keller for his sharp, sophisticated communication of Christian truth with a kind and gentle spirit.
Scot McKnight on balancing rigorous New Testament scholarship with a down-to-earth concern for equipping the church to better engage our world with the gospel.
Eugene Peterson for being “a pastor’s pastor” and keeping me focused on the true nature of spiritual shepherding and avoiding the lure and pressures of the church growth movement.
Dallas Willard for writing The Divine Conspiracy that nearly encapsulates the totality of Christian discipleship and formation in one peerless book.
C.S. Lewis for sharing his brilliant Christian mind and “baptized imagination” with the world.
N.T. Wright on understanding Jesus, Paul and the New Testament accurately in its historical context, and so much more.
Stanley Hauerwas on narrative theology, an Anabaptist posture toward culture, and a thoroughly Jesus-shaped ethic.
Will Willimon on preaching the strange and peculiar God we serve and follow.
Pastor David Johnson for his applicable, expository preaching that awakened new faith in me in college and continues to nurture me today.
Greg Boyd & Paul Eddy, two college profs, who have helped me keep Jesus’ Calvary-shaped Kingdom distinct from various Americanized versions of Christianity, and their teachings on covenant love, free will, and spiritual warfare.